Let’s get something straight right from the beginning; your immune system requires vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep it running optimally and it is exceptionally difficult to get an abundance of nutrients from the food and eating habits in this country. Therefore, let’s lay out for you some tips regarding keeping your immune system topped off as we are back to school, heading into fall, and ultimately will be encountering colds, flu’s, head colds and stomach bugs.

First and foremost, being back to school means strained schedules, kids up late (hopefully studying) and bouts of stress. If you want to have a strong immune system, you need to give it a break from the stress so immune cells can ramp up and be effective. We’re actually going to make this a list of 6 things as #1 trumps all. That is rest. However, the rest of our discussion is about being proactive and amplifying the whole immune system. Can you overcome and or prevent sickness with rest? Absolutely! Could your immune system potentially be stronger with a few key supplements? Research suggests this is also absolutely true. Therefore, as a dietary supplement, vitamin D is our first to consider. Vitamin D can reduce inflammation in the body naturally, allowing for less stress hormones to be physiologically necessary and thus the immune system can kick into high gear. Here is the Vitamin D supplement we like, which is Vitamin D with K2. We like this because vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and the K2 helps direct calcium that is absorbed into bones, lessening the potential for calcium to end up where we don’t want it, such as arteries.

Next on the list is vitamin C. Most people already think of vitamin C regarding immune health but often reach for the orange juice. The problem is that juice is filled with sugar, which can cause a huge spike in insulin, which is then counteracted by cortisol and ultimately can cause suppression of immune function. Eating the actual orange would be great as it is filled with lots of nutrients and fiber, which slows insulin response and lessens the immune suppressive cascade. To make it easy to know how much you are getting and that it is super absorbable, we like this liposomal vitamin C. Just a quick note, when you reach for the whole fruit, go organic and non-GMO to avoid pesticides, allergens, and reduced nutritional value.

That brings us to zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral that has been proven to shorten the duration of a cold on average by two whole days. Natural sources of zinc include beef, chicken, turkey, and eggs; however, I find supplementing is easier especially when one starts feeling sick. Often desire to eat can be hampered and we once again encounter the issues of nutrient and/or mineral content in the foods.

Our recommendations #4 and #5 come as a dynamic duo in that of quercetin and bromelain. Quercetin is called the master flavonoid (a plant based anti-oxidant), found in dark vegetables and fruits but also known to be difficult to consume in sufficient quantities to achieve a therapeutic effect. Quercetin has been thoroughly researched and has shown to reduce incidence of upper respiratory infection following stress and extreme exercise. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory actions; however, perhaps more importantly both moves quercetin from the gastrointestinal tract to the blood stream thus enhancing absorption, but also amplifies the effects of quercetin. This is why we like to recommend supplements that contain them both. Together the combination of quercetin and bromelain have an anti-inflammatory effect, which counteracts the effects of stress on the immune system, promotes cardiovascular health and also improves oxygen uptake. Those are all wins!

To recap, these supplements in addition to some balance in one’s schedule to allow for rest and reduction in stress are helpful in creating and supporting a strong immune system and immune response. Below are links to the supplements listed above: